Monday, February 11, 2008

The next big drug for athletes?

Fatigue relief drug's heart hope BBC News
"...A Columbia University team found fatigue following exercise is caused by calcium leaking inside muscle cells. They formulated a drug to plug the leaks, and successfully used it to relieve fatigue in exhausted mice...They also believe that calcium leaks are responsible for severe exhaustion in heart failure patients...It had previously been thought that fatigue following intense, sustained exercise such as marathon running was due to the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles...The latest research pinpoints a tiny leak inside the muscle cells as the culprit. The leak - which allows calcium to seep continuously inside the muscle cells - weakens the force produced by the muscle and also turns on a protein-digesting enzyme that damages the muscle fibres. The researchers found the leak was present in the muscle of mice after an intense three-week daily regime of swimming, and in human athletes after three days of intense cycling. The Columbia team had previously identified the same leak in the muscles of animals with heart failure...The researchers gave their experimental drug to mice before the animals started a three-week regime of swimming. Without the drugs the animals were exhausted after three weeks, but those that received the drug were still energetic at the end of the exercise programme, and their muscles showed less signs of damage... "

More research is needed, but this might be amazing for some heart disease patients. And could be amusing to see endurance athletes claiming after busted for the improper use of this drug... that they were using it for heart disease.

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